Wednesday, August 30, 2006


I am so bummed...I thought I had downloaded all my pix from the mural and I didn't. This is just one side. I'll take new pix of the other wall.

Lock-In Pix

I am missing one of the girls because she managed to duck the camera all night. I'm really bummed.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

I Survived!

The Lock In went very well. It went really, really, realy well!

We started off at the church getting the kids' stuff in the Jr. High room. "P" was late so one of the mom's said she'd drive the kids to house #1 and we left a note for "P" to meet us there. He actually arrived maybe 10 minutes after we did which wasn't bad! The first house was appetizers and the family went all out...potato skins (from scratch), cocktail sausage thingies, veggies, fruit and soda. The kids forgot they had two more houses and really dug in!

House #2 was our main course. It was a chili cassrole type dish with the cornbread baked on top. We also had spinach and grapes. The kids sdid well...but were still a little on the full side from house #1.

House #3 was within walking distance of house #2 so we walked to get ready for dessert. One the menu were sundaes and mini-chocolate chip muffins.

After our feast we headed to Laser Quest for three games of laser tag. My gun didn't work the first round and by round three I was ranked 11th. Not too bad. It's been three years since I played.

We came back to the church and "C" called his mom (he wasn't going to stay all night and changed his mind). She brought his stuff and his X-box that we hooked up to the big screen in the Bible Times Theater room (it looks like a movie theater and we use it for our elementary program). So, "C" and "S" settled in there while the other guy, "G" stayed with all th girls to watch "Mean Girls." Unlike "S" and "C," "G" playes multiple sports and multiple competitive teams and I am not sure if his family even owns an X-box, Playstation, etc. The movie ended about 10 minutes to 2:00 AM and we shut it all off and went to sleep. We got the kids up at 7:15 to start getting them ready to head home at 8:00 AM.

I'll post pictures soon. The Jr. High group is small but has always been "guy heavy." This is the first event in recent memory (which goes back 4 years as of 9/1/06) where the girls out numbered the guys. A couple "regulars" didn't attend and in some ways that was good for the three guys who were there. So, while I missed them, it worked out great!

One of the girls asked me when the next one was going to be! HA! That isn't up to me anyway since I am just a volunteer. But, the kids did give me suggestions that I will pass onto Debra. She joined us for one round of laser tag (the high school lock-in was going on as well back at the church) so the kids could meet her and get the chance to take shots at her in the game.

I am one of those youth ministry freaks that LOVE lock-ins so after a month or so of rest I could do it again...but we probably won't do one again for another 6 months or so!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Lock-in Prep!

This Friday is our final summer "fling" with a lock-in. The advantages of a small group is that we are starting off with a Progressive Dinner and then heading to Laser Quest for three rounds of Laser Tag. Then it is back to the Jr. High Room for snacks, movies/sleep and then I start waking them up at about 7:30 AM so they will be ready to leave by 8. We were averaging a whole 4 kids during the year and maybe 7 this summer at Pool and Praise...we have double that coming this weekend. "G" is bringing 2 friends, "M" is bringing one which is AWESOME because we have had a hard time getting her involved in Jr. High (then again...her older bros aren't involved with high school ministry either) and "C" is also bringing a friend. For one of the 6th graders this will be his first Jr. High event and I am so excited about that.

Debra (the new Youth Director) will join us for Laser Tag...but it is pretty much in the hands of me and Paul. It is looking (right now) that she will spend the majority of time with high school and Paul and I will lead Jr. High. There is a parent meeting next week, but I will be at the American Idols in Concert thingie. It's confusing trying to figure out my role for now on. All I know is she wants me to stay on board and that's the important thing. I ove my Junior Highers...especially the 6th graders because I have been with them for almost FOUR years as it is. The running joske is that they are "stuck" with me for three more years but then I won't be able to see them go and will jump ship to high school. I don't think so. I think I am staying put. Then again, who knows what God has in store?

Big Sur

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


After being able to volunteer for one glorious year at NYWC I got turned down. I am so bummed because that was the only way I was going to get to go. I thought I did a good job last year.
I'll post more when I have time to sit down and write a proper post along with pictures!

Big Sur was great and I could have used a few more days. Coming back was not a good thing (except for work) and I am a stress monster already.

It was good to see Rob again, but we kind of didn't do a whole lot other than talk about my trip. I am sure we'll jump right back in on Thursday. I was really close to actually saying my mom made me...well...I was able to say "really irritated." Believe me...that is progress!

I got to church Sunday and "my" mural was almost done! I'll post pictures after I recharge my battery!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

My Week...

This has been an interesting week:

  1. Monday night Marshmallow went chasing after a cat he thought was ours (they look alike). It was the stray that comes over here from time to time. Marshmallow charged in and they fought…the DOG lost to the CAT. The dog only weighs like 5 pounds, but it’s still kind of funny. The cat either dug in a couple teeth or claws and we had to take him in Tuesday to have him checked out. Poor Marsh is scared of everything now. It’s so sad.

  1. Wednesday I went to go see “World Trade Center.” It was good…not as in a good piece of entertainment but good as in how we can spur one another on and what happens when we don’t give up. Tribute the human spirit and focused on the men…not on everything else that was going on. If they didn’t see it, Stone didn’t show it so we never saw the planed go into the WTC. This was not a bad thing. We saw what the families were going through, what the rescue workers were doing and how amazing it was the men lived. I didn’t cry until the last 15 minutes or so…but it wasn’t sad tears. I left the movie and good ‘ol TJ Holmes from our local NBC affiliate was there with a cameraman. We made eye contact and he asked me if I just cam from WTC. I said yes and he asked to interview me. I said okay and we did about 7 minutes. I knew if anything was used it would be about 30 seconds. My Communications degree kicked in and I know I gave him good sound bytes (not that I tried…but it was a natural thing…stick a microphone in my face and I give you a sound byte you can use). During the 5:00 PM news they ran the story at the end of the ½ hour and it was part of my interview. I had to leave fro Pool and Praise, but they re-ran the story at 6:00 PM and from what my mom said it was a longer piece with part of another interview and extended footage of me. I looked like a flipping whale.

  1. Thursday Rob asked me what I felt when I was hit as a kid. I sat there for a couple minutes and conjured up times I was hit and it was like watching a movie. I told him I could see it plain as day and I know that it’s me getting hit…but I can make NO emotional connection with it at all. It was the first time that we ever talked about me disassociating when the abuse happened. I never thought about that. Rob isn’t the first one I have said that to. “Everyone” else said that made sense, but I don’t remember delving any deeper into it. Of course part of me thinks that maybe it’s not a BAD thing that I can’t connect the emotion to the action. I told him I’m not sure which one I preferred…the physical abuse or the verbal/emotional. I think I choose the physical.

  1. Friday I went and bought a new (larger) cooler for my camping trip, a cool party grill/camp stove thing (we have one, but it doesn’t work right and I’d rather not chance it), a couple books and some sample size stuff (i.e. Wet Ones) to make packing easier. I am doing laundry now. I always want to over pack…but I’m not going to. I need a pair of jeans for riding, my overalls and another pair of jeans to have on hand. I also want to bring my other overalls and another pair of jeans…but I’m not going to. Other than horseback riding I am just going to relax and read and take walks…I don’t need every piece of denim I own! Or do I????

Oh…AND MY MOM DIDN’T PASS HER PROBATION AT WORK. She wasn’t catching on fast enough. Ummm….couldn’t hey have told her that and given her a shot to improve before the time was up? Sigh…

I got the tent out and put it together to make sure I could do it on my own. It took maybe 20 minutes because it is a two person job (last year I had to ask someone for help). It can be done alone…it’s just not that easy. It’ll be a breezy 75 next week so I won’t freak when I can’t do it right away. Monday I bought an air mattress and a lantern (with lots of batteries) so I am set. I wish I could leave sooner…I can’t wait to get out of here!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Next week I am going camping in Big Sur. Last year, I saw the link on Marko's blog and it sounded perfect for me as I can easily get there from San Jose. I just wasn’t sure if it would work out. The cost isn’t a lot but, when you figure in my PT Children’s Pastor/Volunteer Jr. High worker, it can be hard to save up the $$. I was paid a bit for house sitting and even more for speaking at the retreat.

I should have done this weeks ago. VBS took a lot out of me and I didn’t so anything to recharge. Better late than never! I am looking forward to three days of rest and nature and that’s it. Even though I was the retreat speaker I was able to have some real quiet time to myself and I long for that again.

So, while I am really trying not to run through the money I made last month I did buy a few need/want items:

  1. Retail therapy at Old Navy last week. Anytime I can get a pair of jeans for $6.97 is a good day!
  2. The cost of the camp site for three nights.
  3. An air mattress and lantern for the trip (as well as batteries, a cutting board and food saver bags).
  4. A grill/griddle combo from Crate & Barrel I have had my eyes on for the past month and my first piece of silicon bake ware.

$100 will go for my first car insurance payment of my new year and after that…it depends on a few things. I may try and head to So Cal for a few days between Turkey Day and Christmas. I haven’t been there for the holidays in a long time and I miss it.

Anyway, I have been looking at stuff to do while I am in Big Sur. I seriously thought about splurging on a spa day. HA! Number one, I don’t think I deserve to pamper myself in that way and number two…the prices are outrageous. I looked at a few sites and found out I can go horseback riding!!!

I haven’t been on a horse in about 3 ½ years, but I miss it soooo much. So, I am going to splurge on at least one ride…maybe even two! We’ll see how the first one goes! They do beach rides and trail rides through the redwoods. I want to do one of each, but we’ll see. I really fell in love with riding when I was at Remuda the first time. I was so scared to even groom a horse, let alone ride the darn thing. It became one of my favorite things to do…especially after I was assigned a permanent horse. I adored Sam and we went fast! He gave me a confidence I haven’t had in a very long time. This is going to be a great thing! One ride is two hours and I am not sure if I can stand it that long after not riding for so many years…but it might be fun.

I am going to take some books (I need to hit the library this week and I have a bunch of books to return), my ipod and just try and relax. Last year’s camping trip was too short. I only went for two nights and then up to San Francisco for a night and didn’t relax as much as I would have liked. I need to snap out of vacation mode though…too much to do this week!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I don’t remember how old I was…somewhere between 4-6 I guess. I don’t remember the circumstances after all these years and I suppose it doesn’t really matter. I got mad at my mom for some reason. I am sure it was your typical little kid stomping his/her feet mad about whatever was most important in that little snippet in time. I got sent to my room and I thought that was the end of it. I fall asleep and the next thing I know I am being hit/spanked hard several times for getting mad at her. That may have been the first time, but it wasn’t the last.

There are other memories (some faint…some more impressions, but events that did happen) of times when I “dared” show emotion and it was met with violence and/or verbal abuse. At some point I avoided/repressed/stuffed/whatever you want to call it all those “negative/bad” emotions and taught myself to be numb to them. To feel them…even to acknowledge them in most cases…means that I have to be punished. I know a lot of kids are told to stop crying or “I’ll give you something to cry about,” it was a reality for me.

Rob reminded me that his office is like a “container and that nothing that happens in there (other than the usual threat to myself and others. Although, he has shown that even when I have been a threat to myself it stays there) leaves there. That really isn’t much of an issue. I know all that. It’s just talking about the feelings/emotions period. But, even though I know in my head that his office is the safest place in my world, it’s the little ED voice in my head telling me that I need to stop talking so much. Not that I have been talking a whole lot…though I would guess that in the last two weeks I have probably allowed myself to be a lot more vulnerable than I have in almost the last two years. Amazing what happens when you tell your therapist you think you have been mad at him for the last 21 months or so!

So, I struggle to eat and not shove my fingers down my throat. I continue to try and articulate exactly what goes on in my head to Rob without self editing almost everything that leaves my mouth and I try to steel myself for the inevitable plunge into the “depths of my pain.” Of course, I am camping next week so this is one time while I personally need the time away…with what is going on in therapy the timing isn’t so great!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Just Breathe...

“Breathing is highly overrated.” I actually said that to Rob yesterday. I was actually able to tell him all I blogged about yesterday. It is one thing to post it and let whoever reads this thing read what’s going on in my head, but it is truly another to put it out there…out loud…to Rob. That is pretty silly…but it is what it is. He was asking me how I felt about what I was feeling and sitting with it. I told him it was making me anxious and I guess my breathing had become pretty shallow because he told me to take a few deep breaths. That’s when I told him breathing was overrated. He told me to do it anyway. I did. I did and the “weirdest” thing happened…I wanted to cry.

Yes, I am feeling insecure and yes I get that it makes a lot of sense…but in that deep breathing another thought occurred to me. The way I was dropped to PT…the way I was cut off from the youth when I got home from Remuda LIFE stunk! It was like the 8 months never existed…that my work as Director of Children’s Ministry was intact…but that I had no ministry with the youth at all. So, it’s taken me three years to begin to allow myself to feel how much that hurt. It was such a shock when I came home that I didn’t really react. I guess I did…I went right back to purging and cutting soon after coming home. Rob told me he doesn’t remember all of it, but he does remember thinking how huge a blow that had to be for me and yet I kind of just went on with things.

Yesterday was also the first time he even mentioned PTSD. I think we never really talk about any of my dx because 1) I am more than my dx and 2) he knows them, I know them and to dwell on them takes time away from dealing with them. It was still a little jarring to hear him say the word…ummm…acronym.

He asked me if I felt the difference the last few sessions…the openness that truthfully hasn’t been there. It’s funny to say I have been afraid to be open with him, but that’s the truth. I know it comes from being so afraid if I did/said something “wrong,” that he’d terminate me and being able to finally articulate that to him is making a difference.

With this new openness also comes the other reason I did not want to be open in the first place: I still can’t sit with my feelings well and the very fact I “exposed” them to Rob sends the signal to my brain that I need to be punished. I’ve been down this road before with Greg and it’s not a pretty sight. Rob and I have talked about this in the past. We both knew that when I started to be this open, started to allow the feelings to be there and not immediately do something to quell them that the urges would be there and be strong. He reminded me of this yesterday and I told me to do whatever I have to (aside from behaviors) do to make it through…including emailing/calling his VM a lot if need be. I have cut back on both of those. I email him maybe 1-2 times a month (unless it is something goofy) and the same with the phone calls.

I wish I could describe what I mean by the “need to be punished.” I know there are some of you out there that get what I mean…but it’s hard to articulate that need without sounding like a total nutcase!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Green Eyed Monster

Normally, I am not a jealous person. I may say the word in jest…but I try to be content and for the most part, I don’t have a whole lot to be jealous about!

Lately, I have found myself feeling jealous of the relationships that Debra will be building with the kids. I WANT them to love her (heck…I think she’s awesome!), I want them to build a strong bond with her and yet at the same time…I have been worried about where that would leave me. UGH! I hate that I even think that…but think it I do. I have really worked hard the last four years developing relationships with the kids and over the past several months reestablishing relationships with the Jr. Highers and even some of the high school students.

“G” came home from vacation while I was gone. Ron always used to tell us we needed to have a ”Timothy” to our “Paul.” “G” has really been that the last year. She calls me her 2nd best friend. I knew she was going to love Debra and at the same time was worried she’d abandon our bond. Silly,silly me. Nothing has changed at all. She left me this goofy profile on my office door (which was pretty dead on) the other day and last night she would not leave my side during “Pool and Praise.” Her mom told me she has been dying for me to get home and for her to get home so we could see each other. I think it is really funny because I could be her mom. Her mom is older than I am, but “G” is 11 and I could easily be her mom. Last night she made me promise I’d go up to Mt. Hermon with them. I told her I am on the committee that plans the retreat so of course I will be there. However, what I didn’t tell her was that I will more than likely be in a leadership cabin.

I do understand that this is all normal with someone new coming in. It makes absolute sense and I knew some of these feelings were coming. I also know I “shouldn’t” be judging them…but I do. Even though the feeling makes sense…that doesn’t mean I “should” feel that way. In my head I feel as if I have no reason to feel so insecure. I try and tell myself that I have had ample time to get used to this and so I shouldn’t feel as I do. At least I can take a step back and see it and that is a good thing. Now I just need to learn to let those feelings be there and not try to avoid them.

Food has been a struggle. I was actually amazed about a couple things. I didn’t 100% watch every bite I put in my mouth while I was house sitting. Well, I did, but I didn’t always “punish” myself afterward. I could stand it no more and got on the scale this morning. I actually haven’t gained. I haven’t lost…but I haven’t gained either. On the one hand I think this is great and it shows my body will not go out of whack just because I eat “normally.” On the other hand, I think of what the scale would do if I keep up the restriction. I see Toni tomorrow and we can process that through.

I think these mini-breaks with Rob have been good in some ways. The first 10-day break was not something I wanted and we just went through another one. We have one more week-long one coming up. I have a bunch of comp time coming from VBS so I am going camping for a few days the week of the 14th. I will see him that day and then take the 17th off. It’s helped me process things at a little slower pace and has actually helped me to be a little more open. I think…we’ll see after today’s session!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Home Again...

I survived. I survived house sitting, I survived the retreat and I survived going back home! This is good.

My other computer died...the one with all my notes and talks on it. I had to redo everything before I left. So, I am really happy with how things turned out considering I had to try and recall everything! As promised, the feedback from the group was pretty much nothing...but a couple people did come up to me and let me know that certain things really hit them. I think, for the most part, the Prayer Walk went well. I had an age range from 5th grade to 30-something. God really showed up. We had never talked about money and I wasn't sure if I was going to get paid (which was fine...this was my first time speaking in a very long time. Anyway, I was handed an envelope when I got there and I looked at it when I got to my room. Between what they paid me and the little bit I got for house sitting…I made just a couple hundred less than what I usually do each month. I am so going away for a few days!

I felt pretty good about it. Friday night and Saturday I think went very well. Sunday was okay. Sunday when I spoke to both the English and Taiwanese congregations was rushed out of my nervousness. God was there though…no doubt about that.

The session with Rob yesterday was “interesting.” Actually, I pretty much was able to tell him everything I had posted here last week and it went pretty well once I started. Heck…I even CRIED…that is a rarity. I hate to have him see me cry in any way, shape or form.

He did tell me while he’d never tell me it is OK to engage in behaviors, if I did slip, it wouldn’t mean termination. That still leaves me with the impression that slipping is not an okay thing. I did tell him I do hate the fact that I still see behaviors as my first option. I need to figure out why. I think most of it is the familiarity of them and for the stupid “high” you do get…the release. We discussed that in many ways I am like a “dry drunk” and he has a point there as well.

I am really hoping that since I was able to actually tell him that I thought I have been mad at him for the past 21 months and he SMILED as I said it (I think he has been waiting for this day…not what I said but the fact that I admitted to possibly being mad at anyone) and saying it was OK that the blocks I have had…the walls I have built up even in his office…will begin to crumble because I can obviously tell him ANYTHING.